"Fifty fucking years," she grumbled, tugging at her surgical stockings as she sat on the bench, raising her eyes to the sky above the Thames, "fifty fucking years ago, it was."

A young boy sat next to her, putting the remainder of a jam sandwich into his mouth.

"Are you listening to me, you dozy pillock?"

He nodded, staring intently at her gnarled face, hairy moles and liver spots, and those unpleasantly thick black hairs under her chin. She lifted her stick and pointed up to the moon. It was a dull and grey afternoon, but it was obviously sunny somewhere as the crescent shone like neon.

"Fifty fucking years ago they put a man up there, see?" She continued, "And now look at us, breaking the fucking law being on the same bench we are, just because the stupid fuckers can't cure a cold."

"It's more than a cold, grandma, it's..."

"It's a fucking virus," the old lady interrupted, "and what do you think a cold is? It's a fucking virus."

The young boy smiled as a squirrel sat at his feet, looking upward, as if it understood what delights lay in the unopened packet of crisps sticking out from his coat pocket.

"Don't feed that fucking thing, boy," she snarled, blocking his hand as he reached for his pocket, "rats with fluffy tails, that's all them dirty little fuckers are. Vermin."

The boy placed his hands back on his knees and looked down at the squirrel.

"Sorry," he muttered, "you'd best go now."

"Yeah. Go on, fuck off! Fifty fucking years. One small step for man, my arse."


It's a strange experience. I mean, there you are driving through the most beautiful countryside you have ever seen, turning into charming valleys, Tyrolean style houses nestling on the narrow plains between the hills, the scent of wood-smoke in the clean country air. Then you turn that corner, and there it is. It takes your breath away, the sheer vastness of the plant. They say it provides power for the whole of the northern seaboard, pylon after pylon, cable after cable, not that we're allowed there any more. In my mind, I wrap them in clear plastic, I don't want to see their inherent ugliness, I don't want my fingers to get burned.

As if in some bizarre act of symbolism, the road splits in to many a fork, just beyond a small roundabout, upon which an angry looking gentleman of colour sits banging maniacally on an old bass drum. You can't see where any of the forks lead, all curve out of sight, some lead into night, many are likely dead ends. It makes you wonder why they put them there in the first place. Testing us. That's my theory. No signposts, nothing to suggest the correct route, so which do I take? Close your eyes, man, don't listen to anybody, don't look at anybody, especially not the one man who is out there to look at. Donít look at him. Take a deep breath, put your foot on the throttle, give it ten seconds, and if you haven't hit anything, open your eyes. Oh fuck...